Monday, 20 July 2009

The Home Access programme

The government have recently announced that following successful trials in Suffolk and Oldham Council (a Novatia client), the Home Access programme is to be rolled out nationally before the end of 2009.

In case you don't know, this is an evolution from the Computers for Pupils scheme, whereby the neediest families will be provided with up to £600 eCredit with which to purchase computing and broadband services from a range of accredited suppliers.

The big idea is that by bridging the 'digital divide' between well-off and less well-off families, every child will have access to 'anywhere anytime' learning and schools will be able to extend eLearning - and particularly their use of Learning Platforms - beyond the school day. The programme is beginning by targetting students in Key Stages 2 and 3. Schools will undoubtedly have a large (if unresourced!) role to play in promoting this scheme to the families they serve.

Novatia's stakeholder data (carried out with thousands of students in schools across the country) indicates that while significant numbers have sole access to a computer and most households are connected to the internet, there remains an equally significant proportion who cannot access school eResources from home. Whilst this disconnected and under-equiped strata of learners persists, it is difficult for schools to really embed their Learning Platforms across all aspects of their business and the potentially transformational benefits of a really eMature Learning Platform are hobbled. Perhaps this funding will provide the impetus needed to get LPs to finally take off in England?